The Paris prosecutor’s office opened Thursday morning a judicial investigation “of the heads of fraud in an organized gang, forgery and use of forgery, theft of identity or personal data and concealment of theft”, he indicated.
As part of these investigations, a person “is referred today for presentation to an investigating judge and possible indictment”, said the prosecution.
This suspect, Rudy Succar, a former collaborator of Mr. Lagarde, had been in police custody since Tuesday.
Jean-Christophe Lagarde, boss of the UDI and ex-MP, beaten by Raquel Garrido in the legislative elections in Seine-Saint-Denis in June, was arrested at his home on Wednesday morning.
His police custody was lifted overnight from Wednesday to Thursday without prosecution at this stage, the prosecution announced. His lawyer declined to comment.
A policeman, Anouar Bouhadjela, also called Noam Anouar, was also released without prosecution at this stage late Wednesday afternoon. Seconded to the town hall of Drancy (Seine-Saint-Denis), he had been placed in police custody the day before.
This city of around 70,000 inhabitants is the former stronghold of Mr. Lagarde, led since 2017 by his wife Aude Lavail-Lagarde.
The affair started in June, just after the second round of the legislative elections, with the publication on the Point website of an article by journalist Aziz Zemouri unduly accusing the couple of having exploited an undocumented cleaning lady. . Raquel Garrido and Alexis Corbière had immediately denied these accusations. “It’s all fake,” they protested.
Very rare, the article had been withdrawn the next day and the newspaper had admitted in an address to readers that it had “turned out to be false” and “lie”.
Recognizing failures in its “internal control processes”, the weekly launched an internal investigation and Mr. Zemouri was laid off at the end of June.
– Three complaints –
The Paris prosecutor’s office opened a preliminary investigation on June 29 to examine the three complaints filed by the couple Garrido-Corbière, Aziz Zemouri and Jean-Christophe Lagarde.
The journalist targets in his complaint the former deputy UDI and Anouar Bouhadjela.
It was, according to his story, this policeman who contacted him at the end of May to put him in touch with a woman claiming to be an undeclared and undocumented housekeeper for the Garrido-Corbière couple.
Mr. Bouhadjela had told him to work for Mr. Lagarde, assures Mr. Zemouri in his complaint consulted by AFP.
For Mes Nabila Asmane and Vincent Brengarth, Mr. Bouhadjela’s lawyers, “Mr. Zemouri’s complaint is a smokescreen to discard the obvious lack of investigations he has shown, while crucifying one from its sources”.
The journalist “sought to protect himself from disapproval by firing all kinds of wood, even the most irrational”, denounced the two councils.
Jean-Christophe Lagarde, boss of the UDI (Union of Democrats and Independents) since 2014, has for his part filed a complaint for breach of trust.
When Mr. Largarde was placed in police custody on Wednesday, Raquel Garrido said she was “satisfied that the investigation is progressing”.
“I remind you that this case goes far beyond simply defamation or insult. It is indeed a breach of criminal law”, she added on BFMTV, hoping that “justice will go after his work”.
It is the Brigade for the repression of delinquency against the person (BRDP) which is in charge of the investigations.
The Garrido-Corbière couple also filed a second defamation complaint against Aziz Zemouri and Le Point.